Published on October 17, 2022
Bipartisan Federal & State Legislation Endorsed at Madision Press Conference
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Board of County Commissioners joined top New Jersey law enforcement officials, federal representatives and state legislators in Madison today to gain support for bipartisan federal and state legislation designed to combat a growing wave of auto thefts.
The federal Auto Theft Prevention Act, newly introduced by U.S. Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Don Bacon (R-NE), proposes to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with federal grant funding to help them combat auto thefts and stolen vehicle trafficking. State Sens. Anthony Bucco (R-25) and Richard Codey (D-27) introduced state legislation in August to expand penalties for those stealing or receiving stolen vehicles, increase penalties for adults who recruit juveniles to engage in auto thefts and expand penalties for repeat offenders.
The legislation at both levels received endorsements from Morris County officials during press conference hosted by U.S. Rep. Sherrill outside Madison Borough Hall at the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building on Kings Road. Authorities cited New Jersey State Police data showing 14,320 cars were reported stolen in 2021 in New Jersey, a 22 percent increase over 2020. By August of this year, 9,000 cars were stolen, and the figure is expected to rise to 17,000 by the end of the year.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin, State Police Col. Patrick Callahan, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Morris County Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen, and Sens. Bucco and Codey were among the many dignitaries who spoke.
The federal bill will create a new competitive grant program within the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to fund state and local law enforcement efforts to combat auto thefts. The legislation also will create a new eligible use of funds within the existing COPS grant program that allows police departments to use funds on new equipment, hiring, and compensation to help combat auto thefts.
It is designed to direct funding to areas of the country that are most impacted by a rise in auto thefts.
Grants can be used by police departments to purchase equipment used to combat auto theft, such as law enforcement vehicles and license plate readers, and hire additional law enforcement officers and support staff. It also would allow funding for overtime costs and additional compensation for law enforcement officers and support staff, provide resources for joint task forces, and fund law enforcement data collection and research activities related to combating auto theft.
Top Right: Col. Calahan addresses the press conference.
Top Left: U.S. Rep. Sherrill outlined the bipartisan Auto Theft Prevention Act she has cosponsored with U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE).
Center Right: Commissioner Director Selen, with Prosecutor Carroll, outlined local impacts of the wave of auto thefts rising in New Jersey.
Bottom Left: Behind the podium, left to right, Director Selen, Prosecutor Carroll, Sheriff Gannon, Attorney General Platkin, Sen. Bucco, Col. Calahan, U.S. Rep. Sherrill and Sen. Codey.
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